Fighting weeds in your garden can feel like a slow motion game of whack-a-mole.
You pull ‘em, weed eat ‘em, spray ‘em. But unless you’ve got a professional weed control service visiting regularly, they always seem to pop back up, cheerfully ruining your otherwise tidy landscaping or garden.
This can be especially true for anyone who’s dedicated to non-chemical or organic gardening solutions. If you’re looking for alternatives to chemical weed killers, you may be wondering if popular natural techniques like vinegar weed control are effective.
Today, we’re going to discuss vinegar weed control and glyphosate, a common herbicide known to many by the brand name Roundup, to help you decide which method is best for you. By weighing each against your budget, time, and gardening goals, you can finally beat the weeds on your terms.
So, does vinegar weed control work?
Research has found that vinegar can effectively damage and kill weeds, according to UF/IFAS. However, there are some important caveats:
- Its effectiveness is dependent on the level of acetic acid in the solution. Regular household white vinegar is typically about 5% acetic acid, and you can get horticultural vinegar that’s about 20% acetic acid. But the higher the percentage, the less safe it is to touch. Wear protective clothing and goggles to prevent burns.
- Vinegar doesn’t discriminate. It can kill weeds along with your plants or grass. For this reason, it’s best when used to eliminate weeds from cracks in pavement or stones.
How does vinegar weed control compare to glyphosate?
The key difference between vinegar and glyphosate is that glyphosate will kill weeds down to the roots, while vinegar will primarily damage the leaves and stems.
This means that both glyphosate and vinegar will eliminate weeds just after spraying, but the vinegar-treated weeds will sprout back quicker—so you’ll be playing more of that whack-a-mole game.
By contrast, glyphosate works by blocking proteins that are needed for growth, killing the entire plant.
So the answer to the question above depends on your definition of “effective.” If you want weeds destroyed from the roots, glyphosate is the way to go. If you just want your yard to look weed-free and are okay with more frequent treatments, vinegar weed control is a great option.
Which weed control method is more cost effective?
Generally speaking, professional glyphosate spraying will cost less than vinegar spraying. That’s because, as discussed above, you’d need more frequent vinegar spraying to keep weeds away all season.
How to do weed control right, no matter your method
If you’re looking for fast and long-lasting results, you might consider glyphosate. To ensure environmentally safe spraying that complies with local regulations, be sure to hire a licensed professional.
If you’re looking for a non-chemical solution and are willing to apply your treatment more frequently, you might choose vinegar weed control. To boost effectiveness, you can use other natural weed control and prevention methods, such as hand weeding or mulching to suppress weed growth.